Many teachers have already used videoconferencing at home for distance communication with friends or family. But what about specially designed platforms for distance training? How different are the devices available on these platforms? But especially, how can I most profitably use this group communication medium for teaching at a distance?
- How do I prepare my first synchronous lesson?
- What are my teaching methods? How do I teach face to face?
- How will I construct a distance course that will be effective and motivating?
- Do I merely transmit content? How am I going to communicate with my students at a distance?
- How can I establish a teacher–student relationship at a distance?
Even though many of these factors will influence decisions, it has to be admitted that methods used in an in-classroom course will have to be analyzed and adapted to the distance context. You certainly do not want to pre-record lessons intended for invisible learners.
On the contrary, a lesson in synchronous mode should be flexible enough to enable a teacher to react to learners and to their difficulties and questions, etc.
In what has been referred to as “virtual classes,” the teacher is far from being a virtual entity. In synchronous mode, he is all there, “online in flesh and blood,” ready to communicate with real students who have real questions. Teacher–student interaction is thus essential in countering the effects of distance.
To make effective pedagogical choices when designing a videoconference course, it is preferable to have a good understanding of the needs of learners.
In the context of a course that is part of a sequence in which you know the required pre-requisites and the competency level of participants, you can more readily foresee the difficulties in order to develop the course sequence properly. The type of content planned and the type of competencies to be acquired will, of course, influence the approach to be taken.
- RESOURCE : BlendedLearningToolkit – This Blended Learning Toolkit is a free repository of information, tools, resources, models, examples, and research related to blended learning.